My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

Things I Bitched About That Got Fixed Department

1. The renovation noise: seems to be over. It was a summer when everyone decided it was time to fix up home base, since we were going to spend most of our time there. And they did, relentlessly. But now it seems, for the moment at least, it’s done. There’s silence. Solid gold silence.

2. The Little Free Library: used to be raided on a regular basis and emptied by a crazy man who lived in city housing up the street. He once threatened to kill my neighbour Jean-Marc who tried to stop him taking out all the books. But he must have moved, because now the library is full all the time – sometimes jammed full. I can’t imagine there’s a free library more well used than this one; every time I come home, there’s someone stopped on the street checking books out. Literally and figuratively.

3. The basement apartment: as those of you who follow this blog know, went through a tenant situation that was a nightmare for months this winter and spring – one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever undergone, involving an old family friend incapable of making wise choices. As a friend said, once the excruciating situation was finally more or less resolved, “No more wounded birds!”

4. The memoir: took a very long time to make its way into the world. After four years of writing and editing – including paying 3 different excellent editors – I tried for a year and a half to find an agent and what they call a “legacy publisher”. No luck. So I did it myself. The joy of self-publishing is that in an extremely short time, it’s done, and there’s the book, whereas with a legacy publisher it would have taken another year or two. The hard part is marketing, getting the word out: no team, no marketing plan, no reviews. But the book exists, and it’s beautiful, everything I’d hoped it would be.

 5. The house with its ragged roof, exploding toilets, flooding basement etc. etc. etc. – over and over, I’ve threatened to move out and leave behind this old place with its destructive poltergeist(s). But this summer, with the Covid restrictions, never have I been more grateful for the space I have and for the garden. I didn’t have to travel or go anywhere, everything I needed was all right here. Well, not everything, I did have to go to the LCBO on a regular basis. But nearly everything. Looking out right now at the last peachy roses, the cardinal couple pecking at the feeder – oh yes, the bird feeder is resolved too, for months, without explanation, the birds ignored it and now they’re back – the rudbekia and asters and white mandevilla my son gave me for my birthday last year, the scarlet geraniums and silver sweet autumn clematis and the mauve rose of Sharon – all in full lovely bloom.

So, right now in my little corner, 70 feels pretty good. But as Wayson used to say, when all is going badly, look behind you. When all is going well – look behind you. I’ll find interesting new things to bitch about, never fear. And this is of course without mentioning the state of the world – the American wildfires that are choking my friends in B.C., the political situation in the States and in many other countries, the pandemic, climate change, racial injustice.

Here, looking behind, is a dose of hideous reality:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.